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How this successful Nigerian mechanic mastered his trade from YouTube videos

January 13, 2019 at 09:00 am | Tech & Innovation

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Staff Writer

January 13, 2019 at 09:00 am | Tech & Innovation

Taiwo Abiri mastered his craft by watching YouTube videos. Pic credit: BBC

For most people, YouTube is a platform where they enjoy their favourite music and videos, upload content and share them with their friends and family.

But for others, it has become a platform for learning a myriad of skills thanks to the free advice, tutorials, lessons available on the platform.

One of such people is 32-year-old Nigerian, Taiwo Abiri. He was compelled by his sister to study Economics because it was a good course. His parents also wanted him to pursue an MBA due to the prestige and fat salary it brings.

But with the passion to be an auto mechanic, Abiri skipped the MBA to follow his dreams: repairing cars. Instead of first heading to a garage or school to be trained, his initial stop to learn the craft was from videos on YouTube.

He told The Nerve Africa in an interview that for years, he watched YouTube videos on car repairs and often tried his hands on the things he learned.

Image result for Taiwo Abiri youtube mechanic
Taiwo Abiri. Pic credit: The Nerve Africa

The first thing he grabbed on the video streaming platform was how to do an oil change and even though he “almost knocked out the car”, he persevered and the platform became “a critical role in shaping his dream for the future.”

His interest in car repairs soon developed and he planned on going to a technical school in the U.S. to learn the craft, but his parents were not helpful.

“My Dad said being a mechanic was bad of a university graduate,” Abiri recounted.

Without the needed support, the Obafemi Awolowo University, Economics graduate, decided to work at a real estate firm to save enough money to start his own car repair business. After a year, he resigned from the firm and enrolled for an apprenticeship at an auto garage in Lekki, Lagos.

There, he worked for almost two years without anyone being aware of his educational background.

“I wanted them to treat me the way they treated everyone there,” he said.

With the knowledge he gained from Youtube tutorials, he got an edge over his other colleagues at the garage; he understood things quickly and could use certain tools effectively than most others.

Abiri started buying auto repair tools from the money he saved and from his brother’s donations to ultimately establish Motomi – his own auto repair company. From the start, he repaired cars for family and friends until he moved into the corporate industry, working for clients such as AA Rescue, Structon Construction Company, Four Points by Sheraton, among others.

In 2015, he made as much as N25 million ($126,000) at his makeshift shop before moving to a bigger place towards the end of that same year.

As of 2016, his desire was to establish a model technical school for graduates who would like to learn his craft. And although he told the BBC that his major challenge is getting the right spare parts for his business, he hopes to “build an empire” in the repair and maintenance industry “because we will always have things to repair and maintain.”

Adiri is not the only African to have benefitted from YouTube as young people are creating their own content and earning money from the video streaming platform.

South African celebrity, Moyin Oloruntoba, is the founder and face behind the YouTube entertainment and celebrity gossip channel, The A1. The model and radio personality’s channel has a large following from South African, African and international audiences, with more than 3,963 subscribers and over 1 million views.

Kangai Mwiti is a professional makeup artist from Kenya and a beauty blogger whose makeup tutorials on YouTube have over 3 million views. She was in 2016 named the winner of the makeup fashion category at the first-ever YouTube Awards in 2016.

With more than 3,000 subscribers, Sibu Mpanza is a YouTuber in South Africa whose self-titled channel that focuses on social commentary and comedy has attracted big brands such as Vodacom, Standard Bank, Burger King, and Disney UK.

There is also the incredible story of a new mother, Tia Freeman, who gave birth alone in an Istanbul hotel using YouTube.

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